A fighting knock from Ganesh Satish (71 batting, 128b, 10x4) kept Vidarbha in the hunt in its Ranji Trophy semifinal encounter against Karnataka here on Tuesday.
Satish – who represented Karnataka before moving to his new home in 2014 - guided Vidarbha to 194 for four. At the end of a curtailed third day, Vidarbha holds a 79-run lead. Only 54.5 overs of action was possible, as bad light interrupted proceedings in the morning and afternoon sessions.
Karnataka, 294 for eight overnight, lost its final two wickets for the addition of seven runs. Karun Nair was the last to go, caught behind for 153. Karnataka finished its first essay with a favourable 116-run advantage.
Vidarbha made a terrible start with the bat, with captain Faiz Fazal falling for a second-ball duck. Vinay did the southpaw in with a delivery which tailed in a long way. The umpire instantly upheld the leg-before appeal, but an annoyed Fazal indicated that he got an edge.
Stuart Binny then floated a full outswinger to Sanjay Ramaswamy, who nicked it to wicket-keeper C.M. Gautam. With its two most successful batsmen - Fazal and Ramaswamy – back in the hut, Vidarbha was in a spot of bother.
Wasim Jaffer and Satish negated the immediate threat, with Jaffer standing out with a few elegant flicks to the fence. Shortly after lunch, S. Arvind dismissed a settled Jaffer (33, 48b, 5x4). Bowling from wide of the crease around the wicket, Arvind got one to pitch in line and straighten. The veteran batter was not pleased when he was given out leg-before, as he believed that the angle would have taken the ball wide of leg-stump.
Satish and Apoorv Wankhade then got together for an entertaining 88-run fourth-wicket partnership. Wankhade was spurred on by some heated chatter from Binny and Arvind. Wankhade got going with two spanking cover drives, and then stepped down the track to hammer Arvind over his head. Arvind had the last laugh, when he tempted Wankhade to hit an uppish drive to Vinay at cover.
Satish, on the other hand, contributed a steady hand. He was happy to shoulder arms when needed, and brought out the front-foot on-drives when the bowlers strayed onto his pads. Four-drop Akshay Wadkar (19 batting), who has a curious tendency to walk down the pitch when he faces the pacers, kept Satish company until play was called off.
Asked about bowling to Satish, a former Karnataka player, Arvind said, “Satish is our friend, but on the field, it’s different. He batted quite well, but we troubled him with the odd delivery. If we can get his wicket early tomorrow, we’ll be back in the game.”
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